What is a Translation Mishap?

“Let’s go over real quick what a mishap in the translation process is and how to avoid one”

What is a mishap?

A mishap in translation is when there’s an unclear understanding of the context of a text, therefore resulting in a mistake in translation and ultimately the interpretation of it.

How do we avoid mishaps?

What Is a Translation MishapIt’s very simple, by making sure the Translators have a clear understanding of the context of the text for translation. That’s why this step is a must when it comes to this industry. If the understanding isn’t clear then the translation could be done wrong. It results in reworking the translation and more unnecessary time spent on fixing something that can be avoided if it was clarified in the beginning. That is why it’s crucial for Translators to know the Target Audience (or who they are talking to). Because a wrong translation affects everyone’s job within a project.

Examples of mishaps and the necessity of native Translators

Ok, so I’m sure you’ve seen it on the internet – a poor understanding of context which resulted in a text placed incorrectly onto a sign or billboard in another country. Or maybe something ended up misinterpreted in a TV series or movie. Situations like these make you wonder – how much of a difference would have been made if little extra time or resources was spent to acquire some quality editing or proofreading from a native of the language being used for that particular project?

Having a native speaker plays a key role in translation, especially when it comes to specifics such as:

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What gender is speaking?
Who’s speaking to whom? (Is it a mother to a child, sibling to sibling, or an employee to a boss?)
Or a company to a client?

Because who better to know the proper way to translate something given these specific circumstances and their context other than a native? So with that said, knowing these things are very important for the translation team in order to give the most accurate translation back to the client.


I hope by reading this it relays to you how important for Translators is to have a clear understanding of the context. For them, to know what’s being translated and who the target audience is. Making this information as clear as possible will enable them to provide the best quality service in the least amount of time!